In the past few days Mark Hughes has sprinted ahead in terms of front runners for the Aston Villa managerial post, officially vacated by Gerard Houllier yesterday evening.The Fulham manager is receiving mixed reviews from many Villa fans with a number feeling a more ambitious appointment is necessary. David Moyes was an early favourite amongst the faithful and despite denying the links this week, remains in the running, but has slipped down to 5th or 6th favourite amongst many bookies. A lot of fans are calling for a move for ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, whose odds have shortened to make him 3rd favourite (4 or 5/1) with the majority of bookmakers, while worryingly, Steve McLaren is also at short odds (7/2) in second.
However, it is common knowledge now that Hughes, who steered Fulham to 8th last season, a point and a place above Villa, has a 12-month release clause in his contract, leaving him open to approaches from rival Premier League clubs. The likes of SkyBet, William Hill and Victor Chandler have odds on favourite Hughes at an incredibly short 1/3 and rumours are escalating that an appointment could be made before the end of the week.
Hughes has done well at club level wherever he has been first with Blackburn, before being unfairly treated in most people’s eyes at Manchester City. He was a front-runner for the Villa job before Houllier was appointed but joined Fulham and has done a fantastic job at the London club, who have again qualified for the Europa Cup, albeit through the Fair Play league. His side drew more games than any other team last term (16) but were very hard to beat and resolute in defence, the opposite to Villa under Houllier last year, conceding 16 less goals in 2010/11.
Thoughts? Looks extremely likely now. Is he the right man for the job? What will he bring in terms of style of player, potential signings?
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